End User piracy Regs

Government P2P plans could cost broadband users £365 million a year

In its response to the Government’s consultation on Music Piracy BT has stated that the three strikes approach may cost each broadband user £24 a year (up to £1million a day in total). This represents what BT thinks may be the cost of implementing the legislation and which it might find itself having to pass on to its customers. It would likely be the same (if not more) for all ISPs. It makes the proposed 50p tax on phone lines pale into insignificance. There should be no doubt that it is a tax.

Actually I’m not in principle against raising taxes to spend on the roll out of a national fibre network. It’s just that 50 pence is inadequate. We would all better spend this money on the fibre roll out.

There is clearly a lot of politicking going on in what is the run up to the next general election. The Government is looking for quick PR wins. If it is not careful this is one that is going to come back to bite.

I read the BT position in the Daily Mirror. I obviously have a wide range in tastes when it comes to literature 🙂

End User internet

Consumers have no voice

As a footnote to yesterday’s posts from the ISPA Legal Forum one of the things to have stuck in my mind is that consumers are not being consulted in any part of the discussion surrounding P2P filesharing.  Whilst the inter industry argument rages we are in danger of losing out on some basic human rights.

Business internet

20% increase in P2P downloads since Pirate Bay court case.

At the ISPA Legal Forum today it was stated that research has shown that illegal P2P downloading has increased by 20% since the high profile Pirate Bay court case.

This was revealed as the result of a recent 3 month research study into Consumer online behaviour by University College London academic Robin Hunt. Hunt said that a snapshot of Bit Torrent activity indicated that there were 1.3 million sharing sessions online – up 20% from before the litigation.

He also stated that in a breakfast meeting yesterday with David Lammy, the IP Minister had estimated that there were 10 million people in the UK involved with illegal P2P downloading.  The scale of this is such that if 10 million people are breaking the law then “there is something wrong with the law” said Hunt.

The prospect of criminalising 10m people is clearly unimaginable.

Other snippets from the Forum suggested that since YouTube had stopped rights holders such as Warner Brothers from posting videos to the site there had been a growth in kids uploading videos made from their own local copies.  This has lead to unknown teenagers getting a huge number of hits.

What’s more with the plummeting cost of storage – £150 can now get you a Terrabyte hard drive – it won’t be long before the whole iTunes back catalogue can be stored on a single PC. It is estimated that 10 Terrabyte hard drives will be available within two years.

This problem seems to me to be about to come to a head as we await the Digital Britain Final Report.

End User internet media

TV license fee for internet watching

In my mind the clock has started ticking ever so quietly for the end of TV Licensing.  A review of the TV License fee by the BBC Trust looks at the issues associated with collecting TV License revenues for the BBC.

The report says “The licence fee collection is currently heavily reliant on the fact that almost 98% of households still use television sets (although this number has declined very slightly in the last year from 97.61% to 97.37%) and that viewing on new technologies tends to be supplementary to viewing on television.”

However “research for the BBC Executive shows that 40% of students in halls of residence use a laptop as their main way to watch TV”. iPlayer.

With almost half of all children leaving school now attending an University of some description this suggests that in time a large proportion of the population will move to watching TV online. 

This will present huge issues in collection of the license fee and will almost certainly join the regulatory debate that includes how to police illegal P2P music and video downloading.  Business models in the media industries are bound to have to evolve.


The report covers the problems with collecting the License Fee and specifically mentions the difficulties of proving whether a household has a TV or not.  The Davies household, after 20 or so blissful years of isolation,  got a TV for the first time ever 4 years ago following demands from our increasingly vociferous daughter.

Around 6 years ago we did a house swap with some Californian friends who, horrified at the lack of a TV in the house (how do you keep the kids quiet?) borrowed one and took out a license.  They went home and cancelled the bank payment standing order which triggered a stream of increasingly threatening letters demanding money.

Initially we ignored these but eventually complained to our MP, Gillian Merron, who got tough with the TV License Authority (or whatever their name is) and sorted it.  My issue was that I was offered two means to tell them I didn’t have a license, either by paying for a premium rate phone call or for a stamp.  As a fascist anti TV type this was objectionable to me.

Imagine how I felt when I eventually bought a TV and had to ring the same premium rate number to pay for a License.  I could feel the surprise, nay contempt,  at the other end of the phone of the call centre agent who could clearly see my record of complaint on this subject.

One of the many side benefits of when the kids eventually leave home is that I will be able to get rid of the TV again and, no doubt, renew my battle with the TV Licensing Authority.  Unless, that is, they introduce draconian measures that say if you own a computer you have to pay for a license!

Business internet

Internet Service Provider Tax?

Just coincidentally following yesterday’s post on the BERR press release concerning P2P regulation today the Financial Times is saying that the Government is going to establish a “Rights Agency” to coordinate the enforcement of action against ISP customers breaking the law in respect of illegal downloading.

This agency will be paid for by a tax on both ISPs and the music industry. Strikes me that this is yet more burden on an industry that is already facing growing costs. I should sensibly refrain from further comment until we see an announcement.

I will however reiterate that I believe the right way ahead is is by mutual agreement between ISPs and the music industry together with end user education and the development of easy to access lawful distribution channels. In any event whatever proposals emerge there should be no implementation of any legislation without a full consultation process.

broadband Business

BT in the News for Throttling Broadband

BT has made the headlines again for throttling all peer to peer traffic. has just produced a report on the subject.

People perhaps don’t realise that P2P isn’t just used for downloading (often illegal) media from the internet. P2P is often the most efficient way of moving large amounts of data from one location to another and as such is an essential business tool. Timico doesn’t throttle any of it’s traffic.

This suggests to me that the UK is moving more to a two tier ISP market. Tiers are usually based on the size of an ISP – the big ones are Tier 1, medium sized are Tier 2 etc.  I would suggest that in future the Tier  classification should be based on the quality of the customer experience. Tier 1 = good, Tier 2 = not so good.

I’ll leave you to decide which one BT fits into but I would have to say that Timico would certainly fit into the former.